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Flies for January are:-
One of the few lures that has remained popular over the last twenty years or so. (Whatever happened to the Ace of Spades, Ombudsman & Black Chenille?)
This is one of those all round lures, fish it on a floating, intermediate or sinking line at various rates of retrieve and it will still catch. The cats whisker works superbly even when fished very slowly or even on the drop. You must have one of these in your box, don’t let the size deceive you, it’s very effective.
In january the trout are often looking for fry and a zonker of some description is one to have in your box.
The Zonker can be used as a general purpose lure but is most effective when tied in grey or white and used in the fry season. The wing is highly mobile which makes this fly so effective when fry are around. It can be fished static on a long leader using a floating line or on an sinking line and retrieved at various rates of retrieve.
Try it tied in white with a few strands of fluorescent straggle tied in - it can be deadly.
A good all-round nymph/lure in the popular green & black colour combination. Worth trying in both weighted (gold head) and non-weighted varieties.
The Montana works well in many different conditions. Best fished on a floating line, long leader and retrieved slowly. The chenille thorax can be varied in colour, orange and yellow are other colours that fish well.
An excellent fly and one of the most successful all-year round nymphs, the Diawl Bach in all it’s variations is still worth a try during January. The Diawl Bach (Little Devil) should be used when buzzers are on the water.
It can be fished on any line, from floating to fast sinker and at almost any depth.
Fish it deep or close in to the bank where the trout are hunting for food.
I had to pick a single fly to fish through the winter it would be a toss up between the ubiquitous Pheasant Tail Nymph and the nutritious shrimp.
Shrimps, especially during winter, are one of the staples in the Trout diet during this time of year. Just compare the shrimps to the nymphs - in fish food terms it is the difference between a T-bone steak and a cocktail sausage!
The fish will go to great lengths to find shrimps. The bright pink and orange patterns are easier to track, but try other colours too.
Like many buzzers this fly can be fished either on an intermediate or floating line, long leader and using a very slow figure of eight retrieve. Expect a takes with this buzzer fished about 2-4 feet below the surface when fished close to weed beds in shallow water. In winter this fly can excel when trout are still taking buzzers as part of their diet.
Fish it close in to the banks where trout are picking up nymphs.
An excellent fly during the winter months using a floating line and long leader with a slow figure of eight retrieve, or an intermediate or sinking line with a varied rate of retrieve.
This example is tied with Straggle Fritz rather than the traditional Chenille Body and uses a thorax of Olive Ostrich Herl to give a bit more pulsating movement at the head.
With the reduction in other forms of food, in January, the trout frequently chase fry. A zonker fly and its variations should be in your box.
Using the Zonker as a general purpose lure is most effective. Use a variety of colours such as natural, grey or white and used in the fry season (autumn and winter). A highly mobile wing makes this fly so effective as a fry substitute. Fished static, on a long leader using a floating line, or on an sinking line and retrieved fast, slow or in-between- tremendous!
One of many buzzer patterns that will catch fish. The other most popular colour is olive but red, orange and even white are worth having in your box.
The Bibio also known as the Hawthorn or Heather fly. Fished with a twitching action or pulled just under the waters surface to imitate the fly. It’s a good fly to pull through waves on a windy day. Fished on a floating line with a long leader.